LOGAN SQUARE — Shots rang out along Logan Square’s Milwaukee Avenue bar strip Saturday as late-night bars were letting out.
No one was injured, but the shooting sent bullets flying through at least one storefront in the 2300 block of North Milwaukee Avenue at about 4 a.m., according to neighbors and police.
It’s the second shooting on the popular bar strip in recent weeks. The first happened in late June when bullets pierced through La Colombe’s training lab and roastery at Milwaukee and Fullerton avenues.
The property owner whose storefront was damaged in the most recent shooting declined to be named for fear of repercussions, but he told Block Club this is the first time a bullet has pierced through his building in his nearly 30 years of property ownership.
The building’s owner said he doesn’t outright blame the bars on the block, some of which stay open until 4 a.m., but he does wonder if they have contributed to the uptick in violence.
“It’s hard to say what the root cause is, but I think it’s pretty clear that at night [Milwaukee Avenue] has become a place where people gather and feel that it’s just a place that they’re less observed,” the property owner said.
Police responded to a call of shots fired in the 2300 block of North Milwaukee Avenue just after 4 a.m. Saturday, according to Chicago Police spokeswoman Jessica Rocco.
Witnesses told police the shooting stemmed from an argument on the sidewalk, Rocco said. They said a 28-year-old man took out a handgun and opened fire on a 26-year-old man in a silver sedan, but ended up missing.
Police determined in the investigation that the 28-year-old man had also tried to shoot another man, 22, but, when the gun wouldn’t go off, he hit the 22-year-old in the head with his gun and stole his belongings instead. The 28-year-old then drove off in a dark colored sedan.
Police spotted the 28-year-old man’s car on the block and then arrested him on the scene, Rocco said.
The man has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with discharge of a firearm, theft and criminal damage to property, Rocco said. The latter two charges are misdemeanors.
Police also arrested another man, 24, on the scene after he “walked through the active crime scene several times and refused to obey direction police orders,” Rocco said.
The 24 year old has been charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.
The property owner whose storefront was damaged in the shooting said bar owners and operators, while “responsive” to his and other neighbors’ concerns, could be doing more to keep the block safe.
“There are so many bars that it becomes this confluence. … and nobody is claiming responsibility,” he said, adding later, “I think that it should be a shared responsibility, not a shared denial.”
Bar owners and operators couldn’t be immediately reached for comment late Monday afternoon. Most of the bars don’t open until the evening.
The stretch looks and feels a lot different than it did in the early 1990s, when the property owner bought his building on the Milwaukee Avenue stretch. Back then, the block was quiet, a “place you would drive past,” he said.
“There wasn’t a lot going on. There was a sheet metal place. There was a printing place. … It was really nothing special,” the property owner said.
In recent years, though, the 2300, 2400 and 2500 blocks of North Milwaukee Avenue have become a booming bar district. Most weekend nights, the stretch — home to East Room, Emporium Logan Square and Slippery Slope, among other bars — is packed with revelers traveling from one bar to another.
The property owner said the strip is noisier and dirtier than ever before, but it’s the gun violence that requires immediate attention.
“I so anticipate it getting worse as the days get hot again. More will happen. There have been two shootings and that’s it. Nobody’s said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to make this street safer,'” he said. “It’s something that you have to, I guess, fight for.”
New Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) wasn’t immediately available for an interview late Monday afternoon.
Last November, there was a late-night shooting along the bar strip, but further north — near bars in the 2500 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
Nita Godinez, owner of Granero, one of the bars near where the shooting occurred, said the shooting wasn’t spillover from her bar, and that Logan Square has a gang problem.
“In the Logan Square area there is a lot of gang activity, and I have called the police for issues going on out there,” Godinez previously said.
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